The Department of Social Work (DSW) of the University of the Philippines, College of Social Work and Community Development, joins our partner civil society organizations (CSOs), in strongly condemning the issuance of Memorandum Circular (MC) 2021-012 released by the Department of Interior and Local Government on January 28, 2021. The memorandum circular requires CSOs to acquire clearance from both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, to participate in the governance of their local government units (Section 4.1).

Today is World Social Work Day. We challenge our colleagues in DSWD to search for innovative ways to continue to deliver, NOT suspend basic and mandated social protection measures and to come up with others measures to mitigate the enhanced community quarantine. It is also the time for DSWD to release unpaid cash grants and social pension.

The key message is that human rights are not abstract concepts that have been imposed on us by the West. They are concrete day-to-day activities that make it possible for us to determine whether or not our quality of life befits human beings. Duty bearers, i.e., those in government, are bound by virtue of their position and authority to enable the exercise, protection and fulfillment of human rights by citizens. When they are remiss, Philippine history teaches us that segments of the citizenry muster the courage to organize and resist human rights violations in various ways and levels, starting from the margins.